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June 15, 2012 > Vinyl validated

Vinyl validated

Survey shows customers prefer new, easier-to-clean seats

Submitted By BART

BART customers, who responded to a survey, overwhelmingly prefer the new vinyl seat covers on trains compared to the fabric seats, validating the decision to outfit 100 more train cars with the easier-to-clean material. A random sample of more than 1,200 customers found that three-quarters prefer the new seat covers and 93 percent rate them as "Excellent" or "Very Good." When asked if BART should install more seat covers because vinyl is easier to clean, 90 percent responded favorably.

More than 50 cars have the new seat covers and 100 are expected to be re-fitted by the end of July. By early 2013, 200 train cars should have the new seat covers. If customer feedback continues to be positive, an additional 100 cars will be fitted. Customers can conduct their own "tush test" by looking for a train car with the "New Seats on Board" decal near the door. Cars with the new seats include posters that give customers directions on how to provide feedback.

The new seats are 100 percent American-made and are expected to last seven to 10 years compared to the three-year life expectancy of the fabric seats. The cost of installing vinyl seats in 200 cars is about $1.9M but in addition to being a hit with customers, the new seats will help BART reduce the $600,000 annual dry cleaning cost required of the fabric seats.

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